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"That it looked like we had it all under control? Actually, Frederik Frison had it all under control. He was pulling alone all day and controlled the three guys in front. A great job of him in his first race as member of our pro team!&...

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28.01.2016 @ 19:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) continued his tradition of getting his seasons off to a winning start as he won his first race of the year, Trofeo Felanitx-Ses Salines-Campos-Porreres which is the first race in the four-day Challenge Mallorca series. At the end of the first race on European soil, he held off Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in the expected bunch sprint to get his year off to a perfect start.


We have gathered several reactions.


André Greipel praises neo-pro after first 2016 victory

First race of the season, first victory of the year! That’s what happened to André Greipel today at Challenge Mallorca. The first Trofeo, almost 177 kilometres long, was an opportunity for the sprinters and Lotto Soudal and André Greipel grabbed it with both hands.


“Everybody in our team was really motivated to start the season, both riders and staff,” Greipel said. “We did a recon of the course and knew what we had to do. Obviously, we didn’t want to let a big group get away. At a certain point eight to nine riders had a gap, but Marcel Sieberg was part of that group as well, so that situation wasn’t too bad for us.


”After lots of attacks there was a break of three riders. That it looked like we had it all under control? Actually, Frederik Frison had it all under control. He was pulling alone all day and controlled the three guys in front. A great job of him in his first race as member of our pro team!


“We caught the leaders in time and my team did a very good lead-out for me. In the end it was all straight on, with the wind coming from the left. I hit the front with 200 metres to go and won. It’s really nice to start the season by winning your first race of the year.


”I think it was a deserved victory. It's my seventh consecutive time here so I know quite well how to train for these races. I like this race and to ride here, the weather is fantastic. It's like an early spring in January and a pleasure to compete in these conditions.


“The start was very quick and we tried to control the race. The guys did a good job to keep the difference in check and our lead-out worked well.


"The last 40 kilometers were very fast there, with the wind on the left side, so we had to push as hard as we could to stay up there. I have a great team and we did it.


“I’ll race again tomorrow and on Sunday. We have a strong team for the next days and we’ll aim for another victory.”


Bennett makes it a great start for Bora-Argon 18 in Mallorca

Sam Bennett was second behind André Greipel in the first race of Mallorca Challenge.


"The team did an amazing job," Bennett said. "Everybody was calm and strong which was fantastic. But just outside 1km to go, 2 riders from another team switched across the road. Our team had to brake hard but I just got through on the right. I had to go alone from 1km. Then at 500m I made my way up from about 15-20 to the front. I initially went on the right side of Greipel at 200m but he then chose that line. So I had to come back on the left side but there was no more time left to come past. But the BORA - ARGON 18 train is looking incredibly strong! For sure we are going to learn fast and grow as a train. Thanks to all the guys for the support and confidence."


"It was a tough finish,” Bora-Argon 18 manager Ralph Denk said. “Lotto Soudal controlled the race in the end for Greipel. But our guys did a really good job. The lead-out was almost perfect, even tough we have a new rider with Rüdiger Selig, everything was well prepared for Sam. In the end André was too fast today, but to start the season with a podium is great for us. Congratulations to Sam who showed once again his talent, and a big 'thank you' to the whole team.”


Boasson Hagen accidentally sprints to third in season opener

Dimensio Data had Edvald Boasson Hagen up there in 3rd place.


After Natnael Berhane tried on multiple occasions to get into the early break of the day, eventually it was 3 riders who managed to get away. Apart from Bernie Eisel changing a shoe mid stage, the African Team had a quiet day in the peloton before preparing for the sprint finale.


When it was time for the African Team to make its presence felt, all the boys were on key. With 25km to go, the race was all together and the African Team had moved to the front. A solid lead-out by the entire team saw Boasson Hagen and Youcef Reguigui positioned in a great spot for the final km. In the end, Reguigui was bumped from the wheel of Boasson Hagen in the last few meters and so the Norwegian champ gave the sprint a go, taking a fine 3rd place in the first European race for 2016, with Reguigui rolling across in 15th.


“It was a good race, not too hectic in the bunch and I was feeling good,” Boasson Hagen said. “The team was really good, through the last few kilometers they did a really good lead-out. We were supposed to have Youcef up there for the sprint, we were riding for him today. Unfortunately, he lost my wheel right near the end so I was happy to still get third. Imagine if Youcef had been on my wheel, it could have been even better then but that's just how it is sometimes. The lead-out was really good though.”


Navardauskas confirms sprinting potential in Mallorca

Ramunas Navardauskas was Cannondale's top finisher on the opening day of Challenge Mallorca, sprinting in for fourth place. 


"It was our first race, so we did not know how we would feel or exactly who would be good for what," he sad. "This meant we had more freedom today in our roles. It was a sprint stage today, so we knew it had to be a sprint. Other teams were working for it, and we played defense. Some of the other teams had lead-out trains, but we played it differently. I had Kristijan Koren with me and a few of the other guys. When it got crazy, there was Koren. He left me in a good position, and after that it was all about selecting position and waiting for the right time.


"Our young guys did everything right. They were trying to get in a break, which worked out a couple of times but the other teams always wanted to close the gap. I feel this is a good group of young riders, and they are ready to pursue a result.


"My legs were strange today. I forgot how race speed feels and what it’s like when everybody is so focused and stressed. It’s exciting to start the season again, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the year will bring."


Trentin optimistic after fifth place in season opener

For Etixx – Quick-Step – who had Iljo Keisse in the first break of the day – Matteo Trentin notched a strong 5th place, a proof of his strong determination in the start of the season.


"The race was good for me, but not as tough as I would have liked, because the break was caught with a long way to go and this made the peloton slow down, which allowed many riders to recover before the finish. Coming into the last kilometer I was in a perfect position, having Greipel in my sight, but just as I was preparing to sprint, the guy who was in front of me slowed down, so I had to come around him, and because of that I lost some speed. Despite this, I'm happy for myself and the team, and we are all very motivated for the next race", said Matteo Trentin, the 2015 Paris-Tours winner, at the arrival.


Van Genechten gets confidence from first sprint effort

For the first race of the season on European soil, and the first racing number to be pinned to his jersey for the 2016 year, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM) managed to grab an honest sixth place in the sprint stage won by André Greipel (Soudal-Lotto). 


“As I had expected, the finale was very nervous,” Van Genechten explained.  “With twenty kilometers to go to the finish, the team began to ride at the front of the pack; my teammates did a tremendous job of work for me, helping me to position myself well.  The race was not too hard, so that meant that there were many of us fighting for the front positions.  Consequently, placing yourself well was essential.  The last kilometer was a slight descent and there was a lot of bumping and rubbing shoulders.  I probably started my sprint from a little too far out.  But I am optimistic and reassured about my physical condition.  The start of any season brings with it a big question mark, and the result of this first race bodes well.”


With more climbing on the menu, the second stage of the Mallorca Challenge will require some changes to the competing riders for IAM Cycling.  Therefore, Vegard Stake Laegen and Pirmin Lang will be replaced by Stefan Denifl and Larry Warbasse.


Fenn misses out in rare chance to lead Sky, Kwiatkowski to lead in second race

Team Sky got off to a solid start at Challenge Mallorca with Andy Fenn racing to a top-10 finish.


Fenn sprinted to seventh, with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) taking the win on the opening day of the 2016 European race calendar.


The day always looked destined to finish with a bunch sprint and so it proved, with the peloton reeling in lone escapee Xavi Canellas (Spanish National) with five kilometres to go.


Earlier in the race a three-man breakaway group had formed, comprised of Grischa Janorschke (Team Roth), Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) and Eneko Lizarralde (Euskadi Basque Country - Murias), and at one stage the trio had a four-minute gap on the peloton.


But once the main bunch decided to up the ante they were quickly caught with around 40km to go and the race stayed together until the latter stages.


The late climbs on what was a broadly flat stage failed to split the peloton or cause the sprinters any issues, and once Canellas was caught after his opportunistic attack, the race for the line was on.


Speaking after the race, Team Sky's Sport Director Servais Knaven revealed Fenn got penned in late on, restricting his sprint.


He said: "We supported Andy all day, especially into the final stages, and he was in a pretty good position but he got a little bit blocked and couldn't start his sprint. That's a pity for him because he doesn't get the chance to sprint at every race but without Elia [Viviani] and Danny van Poppel here it's a great chance for Andy.


"The day wasn't hard so there were lots of guys near the front in the final stages, meaning there was a big fight to be in a good position. Andy was two wheels behind Griepel then he got a little blocked in and he couldn't get out. Those things can happen."


Gianni Moscon and Michal Golas made their Team Sky debuts and Knaven praised the pair, adding that Moscon will never forget the race, his first as a professional.


"Michal did a really good job in the final stages staying with Andy and putting him in the right position and Gianni was with one of the early breakaways at the start along with lots of World Tour riders, but sadly it was caught after five or 10km.


"In the final kilometres he was a bit surprised - it's a different way of racing to what he is used to, so he was a bit shocked by how hectic and fast it can be at the end. It's a good week for him to get used to this kind of racing. He was really excited at the start of the day for his first race as a professional and his first in this team and it was a special day, for sure. It's a day he will never forget."


Michal Kwiatkowski comes into the team's line-up tomorrow for the Trofeo Pollenca-Andratx and Knaven believes he is one of the favourites for the race, while Fenn could be in contention if he survives the day's climbs.


"Tomorrow is tough. The sprinters could be there in the final stages but it will be hard, with some short climbs. It all depends how hard it is in the mountains, how they race there, and we will see how good the sprinters are in the final 20 kilometres. Andy can give it a go in the climbs and we will see, but in Michal Kwiatkowski we have a really strong guy who will be one of the favourites."

Continental team impresses in Mallorca opener

It was an excellent performance of GM Europa Ovini on the Spanish roads. The first race saw a great Filippo Fortin who was not afraid of the WorldTour teams.  The Venetian rider got onto Greipel’s wheel in the finale and sprinted to 8th as the best non-WorldTour rider.

In addition to the beautiful result, Federico Burchio, a 19 year-old debutant in a professional race, finishd 13th. The team was first in the teams classification.


"The victory in the teams classification makes us understand that we are on the right track,” says sports director Dario Andriotto, “although we still have a lot of work to do. Filippo can mix it up with the best in the world. We hope to confirm such a high level in the next stages and in the Vuelta Valenciana.”


Young FDJ sprinter off to solid start

After the Tour Down Under last week for seven of their teammates, eight riders of the FDJ team started their season on Thursday in the first leg of the Challenge Mallorca. Marc Sarreau was ninth and had good legs.


"Initially - and this is always the case for the first race of the year - there was a little apprehension and concentration but the day went smoothly," sports director Thierry Bricaud said. "Three riders escaped, the sprint teams worked and ti was expected scenario ... The guys did 180 kilometers under the sun."


Thierry Bricaud had appointed Marc Sarreau to defend the colors of the French team.


"In the approach to the sprint, Matthieu Ladagnous, Arnaud Courteille and Olivier Le Gac had to position Sébastien Chavanel, Lorrenzo Manzin and Marc Sarreau. It was a job well done as they are found themselves behind the Lotto Soudal team. Unfortunately, Marc lost both lead-out men with 3km to go and so close to the finish, it was difficult to reorganize, to reposition themselves place and to sprint for the win. Greipel had already won."


The FDJ team is pleased to see William Bonnet continuing her this preparation with his teammates in the mild conditions.


"Every day, William does the course for the next day's race. He's fine even though his comeback will tell exactly where he is. Meanwhile, he is my scout and this evening he told me what awaits us tomorrow. I know the profile for Friday is hillier." 


Goncalves animates first race for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

The Caja Rural - Seguros RGA riders didn’t waste any time showing off their new jerseys and Fuji bikes in the first race of the season, Trofeo Felanitx on Mallorca.
After a series of attacks at the beginning of the race, the team’s newcomer Domingos Gonçalves managed to break away with two other riders. The trio established a gap of just under five minutes before the peloton started to reel them back in. Gonçalves and his two breakaway companions put up a great fight but after over 100 km in front, it all came back together. One of Caja Rural - Seguros RGA’s amateur riders, Xavier Cañellas, riding in the color of the Spanish national team in this race, tried to anticipate the expected bunch sprint with a late attack. However, with just 5 km left to go, Cañellas had to see his attempt closed down by the pack.
On the final kilometers, Ángel Madrazo showed the green colors of the team when he tried to leave the peloton behind together with a couple of other strong riders. Unfortunately, the break didn’t last and at the end, it came down a sprint. Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol proved to be the fastest man on the day when he outsprinted Sam Bennett and Edvald Boasson Hagen to take the win. José Gonçalves was the team’s best placed rider, finishing just outside of top10.
Due to his actions in the breakaway, Domingos Gonçalves finished the day on the podium as the winner of the intermediate sprints and combination classification. “I’m happy with the first day of racing for the team and that I made the breakaway. I feel good and tomorrow, I will try to make the break once again to avoid the tension in the peloton, which is very big”, Gonçalves explained after his two podium ceremonies and added that also hopes to give a hand to his brother, José, for him to finish as high up in the classification tomorrow as possible.
Friday’s race on Mallorca is Trofeo Pollenca-Port de Andratx. On a very undulating course, the riders will have to overcome several climbs before the last uphill sprint towards the finishing line.


Movistar neo-pro makes debut in Mallorca

Jorge Arcas (1992 Movistar Team) debuted as a professional in the Trofeo Felanitx-SesSalines-Campos-Porreres.


For the Aragonese rider, it was "a dream come true". After the race, he shared his impressions of the debut in a video message posted by Movistar. "I want to thank all my teammates who have supported me, especially Imanol Erviti who is my role model. He has helped me a lot during the day and I look forward to helping wherever I can and gradually progress within the team," he said.


Before pinning on the number and starting to ride, he was full of "enthusiasm and excitement" on "a day that every runner wants to experience."


Arcas has joined the Movistar Team from the amateur Lizarte team which also allowed Andrey Amador, Dayer Quintana, Marc Soler and Antonio Pedrero to join the only Spanish WorldTour team.


Janorschke shows Roth colours in season debut

"It was a tough day in the wind and Lotto and IAM did not give us much leeway so it was clear that we had no chance," Team Roth's Grischa Janorschke told after spending the day in the break. "The first race after the winter is always hard, but my engine is getting up to speed quickly."


"For us it was the first race as ProContinental team and therefore we wanted to show ourselves and put a man in the break. I managed to be there.



"Most of our main sponsors are with us on the island, and so it was good that we were able to show ourselves."



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